Thursday evening we settled in front of our computer and surfed over to the Cecil County Young Republican Club blogto watch a video stream of a meeting of the Cecil Land Use Alliance. The live narrowcast of the July 9th meeting of the Cecil Land Use Alliance (CLUA) at the Perryville Library offered citizens a first look at the draft of the new comprehensive plan. We were unable to attend, but lots of talk about important decisions the committee is making has us interested in getting the facts so we watched the entire meeting on the web.
This is the second time the Young Republicans provided a service like this. A few weeks earlier they invited the county commissioners to attend a meeting to talk about the county budget and Commissioners Mullins and Hodge accepted. That one wasn’t a video-stream, but it was summarized in real-time by the club’s communications director Josue.
Someone Noticed thanks CCYRC for providing a valuable public service. It is so important to have informed voters and in the busy schedules of 21st century families it is often hard to attend forums. Yet technology allows us to easily and efficiently stream live content of public meetings to large audiences. Particularly in Cecil County where we are critically underserved by traditional media outlets, this is important. Over time, as the newspaper pulled back from digging into stories and providing insightful content that informed voters, we’ve had an informational void. (After searching the Cecil Whig site for the past 3 months to see how much coverage the comprehensive plan is getting, we didn’t find any hits.) CCYR is filling that gap and hopefully other groups will start doing the same.
There is progress. First the Young Republicans are really getting into gear with new media. But also the county is streaming the audio of its meetings and Elkton is discussing the possibility of broadcasting its sessions. Hopefully others will join in.
Not too long ago, we had many ways to stay informed. One non-partisan group that comes quickly to mind is the League of Women Voters. Not affiliated with either party, the group focused on critically examining public policy from a broader vantage point. They appointed committees to monitor governmental activities and presented forums with panels of experts. Thus, for example, they monitored earlier rewritings of the comprehensive plan and provided independent reporting. But they’re no longer active. Our local daily newspaper also did an outstanding job of digging into a story. They had editors who knew how to make sure their reporters got beyond the sound-bytes of the politicians and asked them follow-up questions to make sure they got into the core of the story. But those days are gone too so we now have to look for alternative sources to stay informed. Again thank you Cecil County Young Republicans